Green Building: Geothermal Heating & Cooling Options

geothermal-heating-and-coolingAs we continue to seek out more efficient and more environmentally friendly ways to heat and cool our office buildings, the geothermal heating & cooling systems available today are paving the way.

If you have been thinking about one of these solutions, you may have a few questions.

Is the Geothermal System Efficient?

Yes. Geothermal has 50% efficiency rate in heating and 20% to 30% increased efficiency in cooling. These percentages are in comparison to typical heating and cooling systems on the market today. This percentage of efficiency also translates directly into cost savings on the energy bills.

Are They As Comfortable As Typical Systems?

Yes. Using your existing ductwork in most cases, these systems utilize heated (90 to 100 degrees) air in greater volumes which results in more even heating.  You may be familiar with traditional systems and the occasional cold air spots in buildings. Geothermal systems will remove that problem completely as heating is more thorough.

Are Geothermal Systems Expensive?

Yes. Geothermal installations are expensive. However, they can bring significant savings over a period of time.  The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association’s website informs us that the Geothermal systems usually provide 25-50% savings on energy consumption and offer lower peak demand resulting in lower operating costs.

Are Geothermal Systems More Environmentally Friendly?

Yes. By using a naturally sustainable heat source it lowers the carbon footprint of operations.

As you search for energy efficiency in your business practices, we can help you determine if Geothermal system might benefit your situation. We can also recommend other ways in which you can lower the carbon footprint of your small business. Please contact us for more information.

Boxed water packaging – is it a better solution than plastic?

Here’s a statistic that you can’t water down: About 67 million plastic water bottles get tossed out each day, and, according to a piece by Dr. Joseph Mercola, “only 10 percent of these water bottles are ever recycled.”  The remaining 90 percent end up in landfills, and plastic takes thousands of years to decompose.

According to Dr. Mercola, drinking boxed waterwater from a plastic container “poses serious risks to you and your family.” Choosing plastic exposes you to chemicals like BPA and phthalates that have been linked to, among other things, to a wide range of developmental and reproductive problems.

What resources go into producing all that waste? According to treehugger.com, about “1.5 million barrels of oil – enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year – are used to make plastic water bottles.” That does not include the fuel burnt in transporting the empty bottles to the water source and the filled bottles to the consumers.

One Grand Rapids, Mich., company, with the eponymous title, “Boxed Water Is Better LLC,” manufactures and sells boxed water containers.  Their claim is that their container is far more eco-friendly: “About 76% of the box is from a renewable resource, trees.”

They harvest their raw material from “certified, well-managed forests,” and their boxes are recyclable. The Carton Council, a group of carton manufactures, whose goal is to keep valuable carton empties from ending up in landfills, would welcome wider use of boxed water, because over 74 percent of most cartons are made from recyclable paperboard. Given these facts, boxed water is a more environmental friendly packaging material than plastic bottles.

PedalSmart Bike Ambassadors Program in Boulder – Free Training on Biking to Work

PedalSmart_LOGO_WEBPedalSmart is a Boulder, Colorado based program used to encourage commuting to work via bicycle. PedalSmart Bike Ambassadors come to your place of business and give interested employees all the information and training they need to promote and inspire success. This is fully funded so the employer pays nothing. This program is sponsored by Community Cycles which has been promoting cycling in Boulder since 2006.

There are several benefits to having your employees bike to work:

  • Easier parking. No bike racks? Community Cycles can provide them at a very low cost.
  • Healthier employees means less sick time.
  • When biking, workers tend to arrive on time and in a good mood.
  • By promoting a bike-to-work program, you can apply to be part of the Bicycle Friendly Business program that presents awards and national recognition to businesses.
  • Earn prizes–As part of the program, your employees are given tools they can use to track their mileage. By keeping a record of how much they ride, they become eligible for prizes.

The City of Boulder provides excellent bike path maps and route finders. Would you like assistance integrating this and other alternative transportation programs into your entire sustainability plan? Contact us.

The Benefits to Engage in Environmentally Friendly Business Practices

Implementing environmentally friendly practices as a business has a wide array of advantages.

One is being able to show potential customers that you care about the environment. This allows you to appeal to an entirely new niche of customers. A growing percent of people only support businesses that reduce or eliminate their impact on the environment a market segment now labeled as ‘New Consumers’ by brand consulting firm, BBMG. Their research cites 70 million shoppers branded “New Consumers”, make up 30 percent of the U.S. population.

Another benefit is green businesses seem to attract the top talent. Towers Perrin’s 2007 Global Workforce Study shows that a firm’s reputation for social responsibility (including environmental work) is one of the top ten drivers of employee engagement worldwide. Employees want to work with companies who are ‘doing the right thing’ and being proactive with corporate environmental and social programs.

The Benefits of Becoming a Sustainable Business, article, provides the top five reasons why most businesses start sustainability initiatives.

Contact us today for a consultation on implementing environmentally friendly practices in your business. Our consulting firm specializes in helping small to medium sized businesses to develop sustainability plans and educate employees on sustainability.